Ariel from The Tempest

Back to Shakespeare’s Characters


If I have to choose, Ariel is my favorite character in William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.

He’s magical, faitful but trapped, ambiguous in some ways.

It’s a fact, often he’s played by a woman or Prospero is female.

There’s even a double Ariel, like if he was conjoined twins!

So here a list of some actors and actresses who played Ariel  in versions of “The Tempest”.

(in chronological order from older to newest, I’ve to look for bigger pics)

Can’t be exhaustive, of course, because the role was played so many times!

Read also “An Incomplete Guide to ‘The Tempest’ on Film”



1952 Margaret Leighton as Ariel to Ralph Richardson’s Prospero,

in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Tempest in Stratford, Ont.

Margareth Leighton and Ralph Richardson

Source: thanks to for the picture and information, 19 Dec. 2014

Source: about the production



1978 –  Ian Charleson as Ariel to ….‘s Prospero in the RSC’s 1978 production of “The Tempest”

Picture from the book “For Ian Charleson: a tribute”, 1990



2008? – Hal Yamanouchi and Gianna Beduschi as double-Ariel to Tato Russo‘s Prospero

in “La Tempesta” by Tato Russo

Picture from the site:

Official site:

Tato Russo Official Site:



2009? – Bangkok actress Sasapin Siriwanij  as Ariel to ….‘s Prospero,

in “The Tempest” …?

Picture from her official site:


Colin Morgan Ariel   Colin Morgan Ariel pavone

2013 – Colin Morgan as Ariel to Roger Allam‘s Prospero,

in “The Tempest” at the London Globe

Official site:

I love those peacock feathers!


the-tempest-production-photos_-2016_-press-call_2016_photo-by-topher-mcgrillis-_c_-rsc_207536 the_tempest_production_photos_2016_press_call_2016_photo_by_topher_mcgrillis_c_rsc_207549-1-tmb-img-820

2016-2017 – Mark Quartley  as Ariel to Simon Russell Beale‘s Prospero in “The Tempest” RSC production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, 2016 – Barbican Centre in London, 2017, photo: © Topher McGrillis, Official site:

I hope to make it in Summer 2017 because it looks great, starting from Ariel!




 1977 –  A rather dark Ariel! David Brandon in “Jubilee” by Derek Jarman

 Picture from


 image3461  image4831

1979 –  Karl Johnson as Ariel to Heathcote Williams‘s Prospero,

in “The Tempest” by Derek Jarman

 Pictures from and



1980 –  David Dixon as Ariel to Michael Hordern‘s Prospero,

in “The Tempest” by John Gorrie

 Picture from


Susan Sarandon Ariel

1982 – Susan Sarandon as Ariel to John Cassavetes‘s Philip

in “Tempest” by Paul Mazursky



1991 – Orpheo, Paul Russell, James Thiérrée and Emil Wolk as Ariel to John Gielgud‘s Prospero

in “Prospero’s Books” by Peter Greenaway


??? – Matthew Goode as Ariel …?

His fan site posted a picture years ago, but it is gone now.

So, no clues.



2010 –  Ben Whishaw as Ariel to Helen Mirren‘s Prospera,

in the movie “The Tempest”, by Julie Taymor

 Picture from


(to be continued)



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